Business Books

How urbanising Africans (with 'villager identity' intact) consume brands

Every week The Money Show’s Bruce Whitfield interviews the author of a business book.

This week he spoke to Feyi Olubodun, CEO at Insights Publicis Nigeria.

Olubodun is the author of “The Villager: How Africans Consume Brands”.

Description on Amazon:

“The Villager” is essential reading for brand owners wishing to conquer new markets.

When Feyi Olubodun, CEO of one of West Africa’s leading creative agencies, witnessed one too many cases of brands failing in the African marketplace he began to ask himself questions:

  • Why did brands, both global and local, so often fail to connect with the African consumer?

  • What was it about the African market that brand owners were not seeing?

He began to reflect on his own marketing experiences and out of this emerged the framework for “The Villager”.

In Olubodun’s view, the African consumer begins his life’s journey by moving from the village, his rural dwelling, to the city, carrying with him not only his own dreams, but also the dreams of his community.

He is a highly aspirational consumer, motivated to succeed, and he becomes the economic portal for the rest of his community back home.

But, although he may be exposed to global influences and technology, his essential identity remains largely intact.

This is why Olubodun calls the African consumer a “villager”.

“The Village” is no longer a physical space; it is a psychological construct that defines him and the filter through which he engages with and consumes brands.

In developing his construct, Olubodun posits that - if you wish to engage successfully in a market you may not understand - you must have the right lenses to view a people.

He believes the secret lies in applying these lenses at the confluence of commerce, culture and the consumer.

Data is not enough to understand the vagaries of a particular market.

Drawing on his wide experience and wealth of astute observations, he provides a highly readable and indispensable guide to the mindset of the African consumer today.

It is, however, true to say that his insights apply, albeit in a more nuanced way, to consumer behaviour cross the globe.

Listen to the interview in the audio below.

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